In a joint letter to European political leaders, the CEOs of Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia, Philips and Siemens , together with EICTA, the European industry body, have called on politicians to promote innovation, employment and investment ahead of the European Parliament’s vote this week on the proposed Directive on the Patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions. Rudy Provoost, President and Chairman of EICTA and CEO of Philips Consumer Electronics, Serge Tchuruk, Chairman and CEO of Alcatel, Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson, Jorma Ollila, Chairman and CEO of Nokia, Gerard Kleisterlee, President and CEO of Philips and Klaus Kleinfeld, President and CEO of Siemens warned that amendments to the Directive proposed by the European Parliament risk negatively impacting on Europe’s digital technology industry, employment in Europe and investment in research and development (R&D) for the technologies of the future.
In the letter, the CEOs state their support for a balanced legal framework to ensure that Europe remains a competitive region for high value R&D. They also highlight the importance they attach to the ability to patent computer implemented inventions.
Rudy Provoost, President of EICTA and CEO, Philips Consumer Electronics commented : « It is a myth to think that this Directive favours large companies over small. EICTA represents 10,000 small, medium and large companies in Europe, with over 2 million employees. These companies , working together, form an ecosystem of innovation that is indispensable to the EU’s main objective of creating jobs and growth. »
Serge Tchuruk, Chairman and CEO of Alcatel, commented : « Europe has a long tradition of innovation. European inventors need to be able to protect their innovation in order to maintain worldwide leadership in high technology sectors such as telecommunications. »
Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson, commented : « It is incredibly important that we get a favourable legal framework because this will direct our work going forward in R&D. If we are not able to patent our computer implemented inventions, the digital technology industry, and also Europe as a region, will have difficulty sta ying competitive. »
Jorma Ollila, Chairman and CEO of Nokia, commented : « We need to be able to protect the huge investments that we make in Europe, in order to be globally in a strong position vis-à-vis our major competitors. This Directive goes to the heart of our competitiveness. »
Gerard Kleisterlee, President and CEO of Philips, commented : « Europe has been at the forefront of advances in digital technology. We need to continue to innovate or we will lose customers and market share. This is only possible if we can reward innovation and secure our investment in R&D. »
Klaus Kleinfeld, President and CEO of Siemens, commented : « Digital technology is at the heart of our society and computer implemented inventions play a vital role in many applications. There is no justification for denying the inventors of computer implemented inventions the same rights to patent their creations as are enjoyed by inventors in other, more traditional, fields. »
For further information :
Mark MacGann, EICTA : +32-473-496-388
Richard Jacques, Brunswick : +44-7974-98-2557
Notes for editors
In our digital era, computer-implemented inventions (CII) are at the heart of all digital technology and are a very significant force behind innovation in Europe in many industry sectors spanning healthcare, telecommunications, mobile phones, motor vehicles, aviation and consumer electronics. These computer-implemented
inventions will continue to boost Research and Development (R&D) and secure employment in Europe, as long as patents can adequately protect them. Patent protection currently exists and would be maintained by the political agreement achieved by the Council in May 2004 on the CII Directive, and adopted as a Common Position by the Council on 7th March 2005. A number of amendments have been proposed to the Directive that would act to exclude important fields of high tech innovation from patent protection. EICTA’s members, together with other key industry sectors, would be unable to sustain current levels of R&D investment in the face of increased copying from overseas. This would prevent European industry from competing internationally, damaging future economic growth and leading to significant job losses.
Alcatel provides communications solutions to telecommunic ation carriers, Internet service providers and enterprises for delivery of voice, data and video applications to their customers or employees. It brings its leading position in fixed and mobile broadband networks, applications and services, to help its partners and customers build a user-centric broadband world. With sales of €12.3bn in 2004, Alcatel operates in more than 130 countries and employs 56,000 worldwide.
Ericsson is the largest supplier of mobile systems in the world and supports all major standards for wireless communication. The world’s 10 largest mobile operators are among its customers, and some 40% of all mobile calls are made through its systems. Ericsson provides total solutions - from systems and applications to services and core technology for mobile handsets. With Sony Ericsson, it is also a top supplier of complete mobile multi-media products. Present in more than 140 countries, Ericsson achieved net sales of €14.3bn and a net profit of over €2bn in 2004.
Nokia is a world leader in mobile communications, driving the growth and sustainability of the broader mobility industry. It connects people to each other and the information that matters to them with ’easy-to -use’ and innovative products like mobile phones, devices and solutions for imaging, games, media and businesses. It provides equipment, solutions and services for network operators and corporations. With 50,534 employees worldwide, Nokia achieved net sales of €29.3bn and a net profit of €3.2bn in 2004.
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the world’s biggest electronic companies as well as the largest in Europe, with 160,900 employees in over 60 countries and revenues of EUR 30.3 billion in 2004. Philips is currently number one in the global markets for lighting, electric shavers and DVD recorders ; and number two in medical diagnostic imaging worldwide.
Siemens is a global powerhouse in electrical engineering and electronics. The company has 440,000 employees working to develop and manufacture products, design and install complex systems and projects, and tailor a wide range of services for individual requirements. It provides innovative technologies and comprehensive know-how to benefit customers in 190 countries. Founded more than 150 years ago, the company is active in the areas of Information and Communications, Automation and Control, Power, Transportation, Medical, and Lighting. In 2004, Siemens had sales of €75.2bn and a net income of €3.405bn.
EICTA, founded in 1999, is the voice of the Information and Communications Technology and Consumer Electronics Industries in Europe. It comprises 53 major multinational companies and 34 national industry associations from 24 European countries. In all, EICTA represents more than 10,000 companies all over Europe with more than 2 million employees and EUR 1000 billion in revenues.
For further information on the breadth of industry in favour of a Directive based on the EU Council’s Common Position, please visit www.patents4innovation.org.
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